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In addition to the 15% there is also a section for an additional tip for exemplary service. From discussion, I feel that very few cruisers make that additional entry.
Yes, there is 15% service charge added to all drinks purchases - from a coke to a bottle of wine.
I suppose if you look at this from a British stand point the practice of a service charge on every drink is unusual. In America you are expected to tip after every round of drinks and the expected amount is not dissimilar to 15%. This is an American ship with American practices and so the added amount is typical of most American style ships. So to deal with your point that the tariff is "illusory" you will see that the price is as expected by most. The price plus the 15% is what you will have to pay and there is no contest accepted by Celebrity or indeed any of the companies which use this system. Just take it into your reckoning and budget for it. ..Nei.
Yes like most cruise lines Celebrity add a service charge which at least saves one individually tipping the waiter. If one regards the Celebrity ships as the equivalent of a first class hotel - which it is - the drinks prices are not out of line. They are only if one compares them to the local pub, which is the wrong comparison.
Many cruise lines use this form of "Tax" rather than the more traditional tipping of staff as on P&O, etc. 15% is usually added to EVERTHING purchased on board ship including photos. That is why waiters are always hounding you to buy drinks on board these ships! You just have to remember to add 15% to every price before you order.
We have a gin/tonic and rum/lemonade and with the 15% service charge we pay $12.95 which is around £7, but the drinks are larger than at home and given you are on a 4* cruise ship we don't think they are expensive.
Thank you for your helpful, if not exactly encouraging, replies. It is as well that neither my wife nor I drink very much but I did rather hope that we would be able to buy a 'duty free' drink over the bar counter at a price in line with that in a holiday resort or a pub rather than waiter service in a smart hotel. No doubt there will be other inflated prices throughout the ship.
Apart from drinks there is little else to buy at 'inflated' prices on the ship. Perhaps you are not suited to 5* cruising and should return to your holiday resorts.
For your information, Mr Aldrich, I do not frequent 'holiday resorts' of the type you clearly envisage - but neither do I aspire to 5* accommodation, ashore or afloat, and the costs that attach to it. But you are probably right that I have chosen the wrong shipping line; my aim was to avoid Butlins-at-sea and have a civilised trip with good food but not too much pain in the wallet. Time will tell.
I think that whichever cruiseline you chose would have attracted the same bar bill - with or without the 15%. We find that once we have decided on a particular holiday, we stop thinking about the cost, as that was part of the original decision. If you think about the 15% every time you order a drink, it will spoil the cruise, so just 'go with the flow' and enjoy it! PS don't ever plan a holiday in the USA - your nerves wouldn't stand it!